Talks of US Premier League games resurface as fan association prepares to push back

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

An executive from NBC Sports has revealed that talks between them and the Premier League have resurfaced over a potential 39th gameweek to be held in the US. 

According to The Athletic’s Adam Crafton, NBC Sports President of Acquisitions and Partnerships, Jon Miller, was the executive at the US sports network who revealed that talks with officials at the English football league have been “very open and receptive” regarding US league games. 

Despite Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters not confirming that US games are in the league’s future plans, he did not deny the plans after he recently stated that the door remains ‘ajar’ on the possibility. 

This comes as US viewership for Premier League games has been on the rise as of recent years. Arsenal and Liverpool’s 1-1 draw last December became the most-watched league game in the US on NBC platforms, only for Manchester City and Arsenal’s 0-0 draw in March to break this record again. 

These record-breaking figures this season suggests to NBC that the appetite for live European soccer games is reaching new heights, with NBC – the exclusive US broadcaster of the Premier League – looking to take this newfound popularity to the next level. 

The Premier League is becoming an increasingly valuable media rights partner for NBC after inking a six-year exclusive rights agreement with the league in 2022. 

Miller highlighted the potential of US Premier League games by citing rising attendances for pre-season games that included teams such as Chelsea, Aston Villa and Newcastle last summer. 

The addition of ‘Game 39’ – which would add an extra gameweek for US-based league games – would only serve to strengthen NBC’s position in the US soccer market and is a concept not foreign to US audiences. 

The NFL has been hosting games outside the US since 2007. This internationalisation push has only been bolstered in recent years, with NFL regular season games now being held across the world in London, Frankfurt, Mexico City and Sao Paulo for the upcoming season. 

However, this is a concept that has not gone down well with English football fans before. In 2008, Game 39 was proposed and was met with immediate backlash from fans and fan associations alike, ultimately being dropped before it could even progress. 

Now, in light of the recent comments by Miller, the Football Supporter’s Association has hit back at the resurfacing talks of proposed US Premier League games. 

The organisation responded to The Athletic article on X, stating: “We defeated Game 39 in 2008 and we’d attack any attempted revival with a full-blown, two feet off the ground, studs to the knee tackle.”

Whether the Premier League proceeds to accelerate talks with NBC over Game 39 remains to be seen. Elsewhere, La Liga President Javier Tebas confirmed that the Spanish top-flight league aims to host league games in the US for the 2025/26 season. 

Despite Tebas believing US-based league games will generate up to €200m in revenue for the league, fans were quick to criticise the plans, citing a lack of consideration and prioritising money more than fan support.

Previous articleWSL and Women’s Championship smash attendance records
Next articleBetMGM reportedly set for big UK boost via Tottenham Hotspur deal